May 29, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
With all of the (often pointless) sound “tweaks” out there, it’s easy to forget that the true sonic upgrades will almost invariably come from output hardware rather than software. And while some software tweaks do actually make a marked improvement on sound quality without sabotaging clarity and neutrality (Elite Recognized Developer Supercurio‘s Voodoo Sound and the HRTF functionality in DSPManager come to mind), much of the software tweaks are are just glorified bass-heavy equalizers (*cough*Beats*cough*) that would make any true audiophile cringe.
So, what does this mean? Simple. It means that if you’re looking to improve the sound quality of the music coming from your smartphone, you’re going to have to pony up a few bones for a decent output stage. While many are content with simply using the included earbuds, others go so far as to purchase an external USB-enabled DAC, a portable headphone amplifier, and truly impressive transducers. However, this kind of rig is not for everyone. Not only are there price considerations to take into account, but all of this gear will most likely not fit into the already stuffed pockets of your skinny jeans. And let’s face it, not everyone will appreciate an electrostat rig like the $12,900 Sennheiser Orpheus HE90 pictured above or a set of Stax. And if you’re spending serious dough on the output stage, you had better have solid electronics and a well recorded music supply to back it up.
Thankfully, this is where XDA Forum Member jRi0T68 comes in. He shares with us a few tips to help hone in on exactly what it is that you want in the world of mobile audio with his brief guide. Now, I know what you may be thinking: “Why in the world does a headphone buying guide belong on XDA?” Well, for many of us here, one of the key functions in our mobile device, and as such, it is of significant importance to many in the community. Despite being only a primer, the guide covers a decent number of topics that should be considered before making a purchase:
2: Genres/Musical preference
3: Type of headphone
5: The audio rig as whole
6: Source material
7: Build Quality
I’d also toss in one final criteria: sonic preference. Not everyone wants neutrality (i.e. to hear the recordings the way the recording engineers meant for them to be heard). After all, that’s why many enjoy the warm sounds and even-order harmonic distortions of tube amplifiers, which by all objective means of measurement are inferior to their more analytical and razor-flat transistor counterparts that deliver unpleasing odd-order harmonic distortion when pushed too far. That’s not to say that all tube-based amps are warm and have an excessive amount of even-order harmonic distortion, but that is a general trend caused by the underlying technology exhibited by many models.
As with amplifier technology, certain sets of cans (and loudspeakers, for that matter) are not aimed at being neutral, but still deliver pleasing sound, if that’s what you’re looking for. This is where the traditionally neutral and transparent Canadian (NRC research and work by Floyd E. Toole) and warm British (traditional “laid back” B&W character in many models) ideologies diverge, but that’s far beyond the scope of this article.
Now if you are lazy and want a few quick blanket recommendations, I suggest taking a look into the following cans. I’ve owned, listened to, and/or played around with them as well as dozens of others, and they are some of the best in their respective categories and price ranges for those looking for neutral and detailed sound:
*Keep in mind that in order to properly drive higher impedance cans such as the HD 650, HD 800, and ER-4S (not ER-4P/PT); you’re going to want to have external amplification circuitry such as an Airhead or Bithead. And even then, a proper desktop amplifier is preferred.
However, if you’d like to delve deeper into the world of audio and find out what works best for you, head over to the original thread. Your ears will thank you.
No matter what you end up choosing, though, make sure you heed jRioT68′s advice:
Many popular headphones (ahem Beats, Bose, Skull Candy) are more appearance than quality, and may offer booming bass that overshadows the rest of the music. THERE ARE BETTER OPTIONS AT THE SAME OR LOWER PRICES. Don’t settle for a nice label. Get quality you can hear.
December 23, 2012 By: Haroon Q. Raja
Remember the good ole’ days of XDA when life was simple, and Pocket PCs running Windows Mobile were considered state of the art? After Google disrupted the smartphone industry with the introduction of Android, a lot of developers have gotten to work trying to port the popular open-source OS to their Windows Mobile devices, the most popular result of which can be seen in the form of the immortal HTC HD2.
In 2010, the Gen.Y DualBOOT project was started at XDA, aiming to bring a Windows Mobile and Android dual-boot bootloader to WM devices. However, it wasn’t optimized to be run on landscape-oriented touchscreen devices running Windows CE, including several standalone GPS units. XDA Senior Member jwoegerbauer has rewritten that project in MortScript to extend its support to such Windows CE devices, and the result is OSLoader.
Do note that OSLoader does not in itself install Android on the device, and still uses HaRET to boot Android. Furthermore, to actually get Android running, you will still need an Android build that works for your device. That said, OSLoader offers a convenient way to choose which OS to boot into at startup.
As always, more details, the download link and installation/usage instructions can be found in the forum thread.
There’s still a little over a month left in 2012, but we’ve already had quite the eventful year. This year saw the launch of Android 4.1, Android 4.2, and several flagship devices. We featured plenty of ups, plenty of downs, even more downs, and few stories that made us all ask if the whole world around us had gone slightly mad.
On the XDA Developer TV front, we saw various XDA Unboxings and a series on app production by XDA Elite Recognized Developer AdamOutler. We were kept up-to-date on the latest and greatest in mobile development news thanks to XDA TV Producer and News Recap Extraordinaire Jordan Keyes. We also saw various interesting app reviews by TK, we were given answers to questions we’ve all asked by Erica, and were made aware of several key issues thanks to Azrienoch and his legendary rants.
Now here’s where we need your help!
We want you to select your favorite XDA Developer TV videos and XDA news stories from 2012. In case you need a refresher of some of the other stories we’ve covered, head back over to the XDA Portal homepage, watch a few XDA Developer TV videos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.
Once you have a few favorites picked out, let us know by going to the discussion thread and sharing what stood out in your mind.
As always, if you’d like to provide some more detailed feedback regarding what you’d like to see in 2013, my PM box is always open. Finally, I’d like to offer my sincerest thanks to all of you for giving us a reason create content. It’s been a pleasure.
September 28, 2012 By: egzthunder1
Yesterday news surfaced across the web, which we found thanks to XDA Recognized Contributor evil_penguin, that Texas Instruments was going to “reduce their efforts” on the production and development of their not-so-popular-anymore OMAP chipsets. This report by Reuters sent a shockwave across the mobile world as one of the big chip manufacturers was thinking about getting up and leaving the market to pursue other more lucrative opportunities in other up and coming markets such as automotive and industrial applications. However, today they released a statement saying that they are not actually killing the platform, and in fact, they are working towards releasing the long awaited 5th generation OMAP chipsets, which boast the powerful Cortex A15 processor. Reports of this kind are hardly ever unfounded however, and there is good, strong reason to believe that this came out to light because someone essentially blew the whistle.
The response that was released by the chip manufacturer and published by GSMArena regarding the continued development efforts on the platform is a classical diffusive PR response to keep investors happy, since a move like that could easily send TI shares plunging into a downward spiral, which is a very, very bad thing for the company. Moreover, regardless of how much market share they posses when it comes to the mobile devices segment (including tablets and phones), it would be a very bad tactic to announce something like that as competitors (Intel, Nvidia, Qualcomm, etc) could easily use this as an opportunity to go to manufacturers asking them, “Are you sure you want to continue using a platform about to go under?” Definitely a bad move for business.
Now, lets analyze their statement a little bit more in depth. The shift in focus being quoted refers to a reallocation of resources to push development in certain areas a little more. For example, as mobile technology gains more root into our every day lives, the company likely is trying to tap into this booming market. Just imagine having the kind of power of a PC or even today’s tablets and smartphones on your car dash board. This is what TI is allegedly aiming for, and of course other markets of interest such as manufacturing environments where mobile computing (particularly for large factories) is an absolute must and can be widely used for things such as Q&A, production, and inventory practices. Certainly appealing markets, and definitely profitable, right? Well, yes but there are always two reasons for making a move like this and both of them relate to money. On one side, you still make a pretty penny on a new market, but on the other side you are losing your socks off on the other.
The latter of the two is what likely triggered this “leaked statement” from TI. Currently, the smartphone and tablet market is dominated by Apple (with their iOS devices) and Samsung (mostly with Android phones and tablets). Apple designs their own chipsets (A4, A5, etc), and Samsung has their own chipsets as well (Exynos, Hummingbird, etc). So, right there, about 50-60 percent of the market is already gone. Next up, you have HTC, Sony, and the rest of the Android device manufacturer gang. For the most part, HTC uses Qualcomm Snapdragon series of processors and the same goes for Sony and a few others. So, there goes another 10-20 percent of the market. Asus (which somewhat dominates the tablet market) uses Nvidia Tegra (also present in some of the HTC One series as well). Another 10 percent or so goes flying out of the window, and speaking of which… next up comes Microsoft’s Windows Phone series. Now, mind you that Windows enabled devices have always used either Intel XScale processors or TI OMAPs (all the way to the Vogue and the Kaiser, which is roughly when the Qualcomm was introduced to the WM lines). There are, however, a few Windows Phone devices that still carry OMAPs, but it is easy to see that Windows devices have also drifted away from the platform. Amazon’s and B&N Android powered e-Readers are likely about the only popular devices left that are powered by the current OMAP series. And just to put the cherry on top, guess who is making a comeback into the world of mobile chipsets? Yes, you guessed it…. Intel, which has been said to be in the process of developing a new platform for mobile devices that is far more energy efficient than anything currently available on the market (I know, typical sales pitch). So, having said all this, we see a MAJOR dominance of the market by other manufacturers and the impending return of one of the largest chip manufacturers in the world. Still wondering if it is a profitable venture to continue? I do believe in niche markets where you can easily survive by providing something that is a little more unique than the competition, unfortunately this is not the case with TI. They are being overrun in sales by their competitors, who seem to be offering much more complete packages with integrated on-board radios such as LTE, whereas the OMAP series requires anyone willing to add radios to use a different chip, thus increasing manufacturing and design costs.
The only real shame about all this (from our little-world perspective) is the fact that TI is relatively developer friendly in the sense that their documentation is not always closed source as Nvidia’s (despite their recent change of heart which came after Dr Torvalds’ convincing “message”). But unfortunately, and as much as it pains me to say this, developers and people who could actually benefit from these things do not really represent the missing 60% of the market that they would likely need to reconsider their position. That segment is dominated by Apple (/runs and hides for cover).
So, summing up. TI will release the OMAP 5 soon (likely beginning of next year), but make no mistake that it could very well be the last iteration of that series of chips to ever come out of the Texas based company. You can expect to see more of them in other things, but definitely do not expect to see them in the mobile industry for much longer as that part of their business section seems to be going under. Who knows? Maybe we should consider hacking cars once they make the shift completely….
Thanks for reading.
So no more OMAP chip!!!!
I wonder what next nexus will have than ??
[Thanks xHausx for the tip]
September 20, 2012 By: egzthunder1
The HTC HD2 is one of those devices that has made history on XDA due to the durable and long lasting body, great hardware, and its incredible versatility. Since it was originally ported back in the 2010-2011 time frame, Android has only been getting better and better, not to mention faster on the device. It went from running from the SD card to running from NAND in a short period of time. However, people wanted more responsiveness and smoothness out of the device. They wanted a closer experience to an actual Android device, without losing the flexibility of Windows Mobile. After thinking about it long and hard, XDA Recognized Contributors securecrt and Xylograph put their heads together and came up with a new way of flashing ROMs onto the device (be it WM or Android). Introducing NativeSD.
The concept behind this new method is actually quite interesting. The whole idea came from the fact that when choosing a flashing method on the HTC HD2, there is a trade off. NAND is faster than regular SD, but SD gives you more storage. The premise behind this is to combine the benefits of both. It turns out that speeds on some of the higher end class SD cards are actually faster than those of NAND (4 MB/s on NAND as opposed to about 10 MB/s on a Class 10 SD card). So, the devs devised a way to flash onto an Ext4 partition (which provides great performance enhancements on I/O). As an added bonus, your data partition becomes MUCH bigger than anything you could possibly achieve by flashing on NAND. All in all, a win-win situation for HD2 owners.
As an added bonus, this allows you to possibly flash multiple ROMs on the same device for multi-booting. Windows Mobile ROMs can be flashed as well, but it is still experimental. What are you waiting for? Take it for a spin and let the devs know if it works well by dropping some feedback and get your ORD going.
This is an idea to make the HD2 faster and fancy, I worked with Xylograph to make it more usable and easy to implement by common users.
You can find more information in the original thread.
Want something published in the Portal? Contact any News Writer.
[Thanks timmymarsh for the tip!]
August 14, 2012 By: Pulser_G2
Here at XDA, we tend to use the Portal to help you discover some of the amazing development that goes on which you may not have noticed. On this occasion, we’re going to take a quick deviation from this to bring you some thoughts on the impact that smartphones have had on wider society, outwith the confines of the development community.
Lately, no matter where you get your news from, chances are you’ve noticed an increase in the amount of photographs and videos taken from smartphones. In days gone by, journalists would use their network of contacts and associates to try to find out what was going on in the world. If nothing was happening, they’d look for news and report back to their office. However with the advent of the smartphone, things have taken an interesting turn. The public is more readily connected than ever before, able to supply footage and photographs from events around the world.
While events in Syria unfold, the first pictures available came from activists on the ground. Using smartphones to capture photographs and videos, smartphone users then made them available for the world to see via services we are all familiar with including YouTube, Picasa. and Flickr. These photos can find their way into the mainstream news within a matter of hours of being posted! In a sense, it’s much harder now to prevent the truth (in the form of photographs and video) from leaving a country, despite tight controls on the conventional press (such as in the case of Syria).
In a somewhat similar but less dramatic series of events, the mainstream media has been heavily criticised from some corners due to its reluctance to cover the recent protests in Mexico over the presidential elections. Videos have been removed from services such as YouTube at the request of governments, and the “conventional” media within Mexico and the United States appear to be unwilling to cover stories surrounding these protests. In fact, the media “blackout” has been so effective that this may well be the first that many readers will have heard of these protests.
According to an article by GlobalPost, the message coming from those protesting is that the mainstream media is less useful. Instead, the best way to communicate and stay informed is via online social media sources, where media companies have much less control over the flow of information between people.
When something we take for granted is threatened, mankind has found a solution, often through technology. Will the smartphone prove the next item to be threatened, with more and more restrictions on Internet access? Or is the smartphone beyond censure? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
[Thanks to BB for the tip.]
Join us as our friend Jordan returns for another episode of This Week in Development. Jordan begins by covering all the tutorials available on XDA, from Beginning Android ROM Development to porting LewaOS and JoyOS to your phone.
Jordan then talks about the AT&T HTC One X bootloader unlock, S Voice fix, and Samsung Note international source code release. Jordan covers XDA Elite Recognized Developer Chainfire‘s Windows Mobile 6 market hack and XDA Portal Administrator Will Verduzco’s how to root the how to root the Meizu MX video. Finally, Jordan strongly discusses his views on all the copyright and patent wars in the mobile world. Check it out!
May 23, 2012 By: egzthunder1
Yesterday was a sad day we all knew would eventually come—the Windows Marketplace for Windows Mobile applications finally ceased to exist, as Microsoft officially killed Windows Mobile and mostly everything related to it sometime last year. The market brought the capability to do what Apple’s Appstore was doing at the time, which was to try and centralize all the available free and paid applications so that people could easily find their favorite apps in one, single place. The introduction of the marketplace didn’t come without its share of issues and scandals due to various flaws in functionality. For instance, Windows Marketplace was restricted geographically. More specifically, you couldn’t use it in certain parts of the world because your device would simply not be allowed access to the servers. Please note that this practice still takes place today with services such as the Amazon Marketplace, Hulu Plus, and several other popular services.
Of all the gripes that people had with Microsoft about protection, the copy protection patch that Microsoft released sometime in 2009 was by far the most annoying. Essentially, it forced developers to submit the applications in such a way that they could not license it under their own models. Instead they had to be licensed by Microsoft under a single model. The patch forbade people from protecting their apps, and because of that, they could be bypassed and even have the code stolen and copied. XDA Elite Recognized Developer Chainfire cracked this new “protection” measure from Microsoft within two hours of it being released. The license check was easily bypassed, and he created a hack to go around it, disabling the license check code added by MS to all the apps in the MP. Due to his own morals, Chainfire decided not to release this hack for a very simple reason… it could be used for piracy.
Today, since MP is already dead, he has decided to go in full detail regarding how me managed to crack Microsoft’s protection model in less time than it takes to prepare a good meal. Oh, and he did it in Pascal (yes, yes… roll in agony). He also went ahead and released the source code via github, which can be found in the link below. If you are interested in some history and overall hacking insight, please be sure to visit his blog (linked below).
Now that Marketplace for 6.x has been closed, I thought it time to release some WM hacking/patching details and some source for this claim of cracking the Marketplace.
You can find more information in the original thread as well as Chainfire‘s blog. And if you still want more Chainfire after all that, be sure to check out his interview. Thank you Chainfire for all your hard work.
Want something published in the Portal? Contact any News Writer.
[Thanks Chainfire for the tip!]
March 28, 2012 By: egzthunder1
Here on XDA-Developers, we tend to cater to everyone’s needs and wants. From the most experienced developer to the newest user, who literally just picked up his/her smartphone exactly 25 minutes ago and is curious about what it can do, anyone can find something that will get them hooked on xda and smartphone modding. The latter of the two groups normally tends to either be too busy to try and sit down and read or simply is not interested on how things work, only caring about the final outcome (I can haz root?!). Funny enough, half of these people will likely never understand what they are truly asking for when they are asking for root and likewise will never open SU as they see it as a perfect way to break the devices, almost taboo if you will.
Now, at this point you are all likely wondering what the title of this article has to do with my little opening rant. Well, because of the meteoric rise in numbers of the second class of people stated above, we have seen a large increase in production of tools to simplify the processes that we carry out in this site. Rooting a device, which can be a rather tedious process depending on how well protected things are has become as simple as opening a batch file that you download from a thread on XDA. However, please do not get me wrong, making things easier has been paramount in allowing humanity to advance to more interesting projects, but as with many of these advancements, there is something to be learned, something that should be taking place inside of the user’s head, creation of neural connections that will allow him or her to later retrieve this knowledge if it ever becomes required for other activities. Sadly, this is not the case due to most processes being automated and the end user simply being interested in the final outcome as previously stated.
Over the last couple of weeks, we have seen some very awesome mods and developments from people who have spent countless hours reading, researching, and risking their investments in the name of science (sort of). One of the most crucial ones was the HBOOT downgrade process for the EVO 3D and the Sensation (I will focus on the 3D one as I am more familiar with it). Out of that thread, if you follow every step as directed by the dev, you will leave with:
This was as of last week. This week we see that there are a few tools that somewhat automate a big chunk of the process, effectively killing the opportunity to learn very valuable information out of the thread. I am not saying that this will make you a developer overnight, but learning bits and pieces of processes like these certainly will aide you in the future. On top of that, if you rely too much on processes like these, what will happen when one of these fail and you end up with a brick? Will you have the necessary know how to fix your device, or even to understand what went wrong? Don’t you think that understanding how things work before proceeding could potentially save you from a quasi-certain catastrophe? Think of it this way, I will release a tool tomorrow that is supposed to give you S-OFF on your device. All you need to do is turn off the PC and boot it back up from MS-DOS and type the following command (having your device connected):
Then simply reboot your computer. If you had previous knowledge of this, you would understand that I just gave you clear instructions to wipe your computer hard drive as opposed to giving you root on your phone. Did I do this on purpose or simply because I didn’t know what I was doing? Obviously, the example is a tad too obvious, but the point I was trying to illustrate is that tools without knowledge can lead to disaster.
So, this takes us back to the original title and point of this article. If automation is a thing that eventually will allow us to be more efficient and smarter, why is it that when you look at the general level of knowledge it is much lower than when things were manual? Do we simply need to step back and sit down to read how we got to where we are? If you go by the ethos of our site, the answer is “yes”. You are here because you are interested in learning about development and how to expand the capabilities of your devices and not simply to make your phone “kewl” (thanks kyphur). If you don’t learn the path that you are following, you are likely going to get lost.
Thanks for reading and please use your time on XDA wisely.
[Thanks to XDA News Writer PoorCollegeGuy for the image!]
What a simple tweet can do with ones heartbeat is incredible. XDA Recognized Developer Cotulla tweeted a link to a Youtube video showing what appears to be an HTC HD7 running Windows Mobile. It seems to be some kind of emulator which runs Windows Mobile 6.1 on top of Windows Phone 7. Using virtual buttons to imitate hardware buttons, the Dark Force Team (DFT) shows us that actually almost all functions work, even games play fine.
By simply pressing the back button, you can go back to Windows Phone 7. Windows Mobile will show up as a program in the task manager, so you can simply switch back when you want. There isn’t much information about this yet, but we expect to hear more from DFT soon. You wonder why anyone would ever want Windows Mobile again? Well we’re asking ourselves that too, but it does give some nostalgic feel to the modern and clean Windows Phone UI.
Have you ever been out and about, only to discover a fun new place? Perhaps you’re stuck in a bad part of town and want to arrange for someone to pick you up. Whatever the case, there are plenty of occasions in which being able to send your exact location quickly and easily proves beneficial.
While there are more than a few ways and dozens of apps to do this on everyone’s favorite green robot, performing the same task on Windows Mobile generally proves to be a little more difficult. However, thanks to Here by XDA forum member ppclike, this no longer the case.
Further differentiating it from other solutions, it does one task and it does it well—GPS location. In other words, Here does not involve social networking and does not require registration. It simply sends your recipients an SMS or Email with your mapped coordinates.
Windows Mobile users looking to get started in easier location sharing should proceed to the application thread. Those who still prefer the native Google Maps application for Windows Mobile can obtain the latest version on the official Maps site.
January 31, 2012 By: Will Verduzco
Long after Microsoft themselves decided to jump ship from Windows Mobile to its successor Windows Phone, the developers on our lovely forums continue the tradition of making the most out of our devices, no matter what vintage the OS may be from. Unfortunately however, one area that has traditionally found difficulty in keeping pace is gaming.
Generally, platforms such as Android and iOS seem to receive all the first-person shooter love with releases such as N.O.V.A and Modern Combat. Now, thanks in part to XDA forum member raving_nanza, this can be said for the gaming situation on Windows Mobile. While not quite as immersive as its cousins on more modern mobile OSes, Modern Battlefield shows die hard Windows Mobile loyalists that their devices are far from dead.
The game’s currently released beta version is fully functional, complete with plenty of guns, sounds, and UI refinements. However, the future holds even more significant features such as updated graphics and more! In the words of the developer:
(buildings, enimies, and vehicles etc)
*add bullet animation
*make blood animation slightly transparent
*add a save/load feature
(im not exactly sure how to do save/load but ill try)
*improve the zoom feature
(gona try and remove the Zoom Out button so its just one button to Zoom In/Out)
*create inventory menu
(inventory menu will pause the game for the ability to change gun freely with a description of the guns, this will replace the Zoom Out button)
Want to give your aging Windows Mobile device a taste of gaming life? Make your way to the application thread to get started!
Anybody still remember SPB Mobile Shell, that insanely popular home screen replacement back in the heyday of Windows Mobile? Many people preferred it over other home screens plugins, like HTC’s own TouchFLO/Manila, because it was so customizable. Many of the most popular threads in our Windows Mobile Themes subforum are about Mobile Shell. The company behind it, SPB, also developed lots of other high-quality applications for Windows Mobile, and eventually, with its decreasing populartiy, expanded into Android, iOS and other operating systems as well.
Now, SPB has been acquired by Yandex, the most popular search engine in Russia. This comes only a few days after the same company has inked a deal (which we wrote about) with Microsoft and various Windows Phone OEMs, namely Nokia, Samsung, and HTC, to replace Bing as the default search engine on Windows Phones sold in Russia.
I’m sure lots of people that once used a Windows Mobile device and have been active on this forum will still have some fond memories about tinkering with their devices, like trying out different home screens, and Mobile Shell was probably one of them. So, it’s kind of sad to see the once premier mobile software developer being bought in what seems to be a strategic move by Yandex to bolster its search market share.